Hacking, Identity Theft, Internet Fraud, Phishing Attacks, Malware are just a few ways our personal information can be compromised. Today it is as important to protect our private data as it is to protect our personal health. With so much of our information available at a click of a button, it can be seem overwhelming trying stay secure or as secure as possible.
With that being said, at the end of the day, human error is often the reason our identity is compromised. In the coming weeks, I will review some mistakes we make on a daily basis and offer insight on common sense ways of protecting our identities. Some may seem obvious and others may not. I’ve even caught myself doing things I would smack someone in the head for doing. Protecting my passwords are at the top of the list and the topic of this credit advisory.
Today most everything we do online requires a password. Bank accounts, email, amazon, ebay, paypal, business software and credit monitoring are just a few examples. Keeping track of all these passwords can be laborious and often a source of information that can be compromised. Let’s take a look at some common ways passwords are stored and how to best protect them.
Excel Spreadsheets or Word Documents:
If you are “old school” you may keep a spreadsheet saved on your computer that you update as passwords change. This method may be considered archaic to some, but for many it is the Rolodex of the 80’s. This can be a perfectly fine method for storing passwords, but I want to offer some food for thought here.
First, leaving your computer unattended makes the spreadsheet vulnerable. This risk can be as prevalent in an office environment as it can be in the home. Since our password list essential gives access to the most sensitive aspects of our lives, we should never take for granted that you can trust anyone. My recommendation is that if you do keep a password spreadsheet, encrypt it with a password and name it something other than “Passwords.” Last, it may be best to not save it in a folder that has any other personal information stored.
Letting Google Store Them:
Google Chrome and other browsers allow you to save your passwords, credit card info and other data so you don’t have to remember them. This can be very convenient but comes with some inherent risks as well. If you have your google account linked to more than one device, there may be an opportunity for others to access them.
I personally have Google on my phone, work computer, home computer, tablet, and laptop. Yes I have a lot of gadgets, but that is my point. If I were to leave any of these devices unattended, I may be at risk for having my information stolen. Moreover, there is a newer technology called NFC or Near Field Communicator. This tech allows for devices to read each other. If your NFC is turned on, a hacker would be able to access the information in your phone. I cannot speak to how deep they can dig, but I am certain that there are those that actively using NFC for more than sharing pictures.
So if you are using Chrome to store your stuff, password protect every device, turn off your NFC unless you absolutely need it and never lend out a device without logging out of your Google account first.
So finally we arrive at the most preferred method for storing the access codes to our most important things. There are apps like Dashlane, Zoho Vault, LastPass and Sticky Password that will securely manage everything for you in a secure environment. I am currently in the process of setting up an account with LastPass because it is only $12 a year and it will hold my software and account information.
The only real barrier here is go through the set up process on your devices and using the app on a consistent basis. Just like any new tool, you have to use it in order to make it effective!
And there is your food for thought on passwords. As always thanks for your interest and support. We look forward to helping you grow your business and educating you about credit!
Credit Repair Resources LLC